Join us in celebrating the launch of David Taylor’s third collection of poetry, Palm Up, Palm Down (Wings Press). With readings from David, Jim LaVilla-Havelin, and Bryce Milligan.
Palm Up, Palm Down draws on connections and commitments to home and place—human and nonhuman. Such a topic is not new to poetry; however, this book moves in circles, out and away, then returns home, rediscovering the quiet beyond/within the concept of “home.” The collection moves readers to slow not only their reading but encourages them to slow down the pace of their lives, allowing time to inhabit, listen, and invite in the broad array of neighbors.
David Taylor’s lyrical meditation on walking rhythmically through this world and noticing gleaming details with each footstep offers a reprieve from the blows of city life and the daily injustices on our streets. This book is a refuge. The poems are feather-light with the packed-in wisdom of old river stones. They know the currents. They do not move. What moves is the spirit in the dynamic lines of Taylor’s work. Whether we are circling the lake with the poet, or dancing to Havana’s rhythms, this poetry provides real company, partnership. —Marilyn Kallet, author of The Love That Moves Me
David Taylor is an Assistant Professor of Sustainability at Stony Brook University. His writing crosses disciplinary boundaries and genres—creative nonfiction, poetry, scholarship and science/technical writing; however, at the core of his work always is the concern for sustainability and community. One of his current projects is “The People’s Art and Modernism: Woody Guthrie, Joseph Campbell and Miguelito Valdés in New York in the 1940s.” Woody Guthrie’s writing (e.g. Bound for Glory) and music, Joseph Campbell’s interest in an ecology of folk mythologies, and the rise of popular Latin, esp. Afrocuban, music, for example, by Miguelito Valdés (or “Mr. Babalu”), function as windows into a time and place that allowed diverse interactions and legacies in the arts that still resonate today. Natural history writing and creative nonfiction include Lawson’s Fork: Headwaters to the Confluence (Hub City Press, 2000), a personal narrative on the history and natural history of Lawson’s Fork, Spartanburg’s local river. He edited an anthology, Pride of Place: A Contemporary Anthology of Texas Nature Writing (UNT Press, 2006). Steve Wolverton and he co-edited and contributed to a collection of essays about an interdisciplinary project on Mesa Verde archaeological sites and their representations to the public, titled Sushi in Cortez: Essays from the Edge of Academia (University of Utah Press, 2015). Taylor is the author of two previous collections of poetry: Praying Up the Sun (Pecan Grove Press, 2008) and The Log from The Sea of Cortez: A Poem Series (Wings Press, 2014).
Jim LaVilla-Havelin (above) is a poet, educator, and arts administrator. He is the author of four previous books of poems—Rites of Passage (Charon Press 1968), What the Diamond Does Is Hold It All In (White Pine Press 1978), Simon’s Masterpiece (White Pine Press 1983), and most recently, Counting (Pecan Grove Press, 2010). LaVilla-Havelin’s poems have appeared in the Texas Observer and other journals; in the anthologies Is This Forever, Or What? and Between Heaven & Texas; and in the Texas Poetry Calendar (and in Big Land, Big Sky, Big Hair, the Dos Gatos Press anthology from the Texas Poetry Calendar). He was the Director of the Young Artist Programs at the Southwest School of Art for seventeen years, retiring in May 2013 to teach, write and consult. LaVilla-Havelin’s essays and criticism have appeared in Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics: Art & Perception, and Surface Design Journal, and exhibition catalogues of Danville Chadbourne and Rex Hausmann. He is editing a collection of poetry and visual art about sport, entitled Levelling the Playing Field, and is working on a book-length poem about jazz, Playlist. LaVilla-Havelin is the Coordinator of National Poetry Month events in San Antonio, and the Poetry Editor for the San Antonio Express-News. He has taught, read, offered workshops, presentations, and teacher trainings throughout the Northeast, Ohio, and Texas. A twenty-two year Texan, LaVilla-Havelin lives with his wife, the artist Lucia LaVilla-Havelin, in Lytle, Texas.
Bryce Milligan (above) is an author working in numerous genres, from children’s books to novels for young adults, to adult poetry and criticism. Bloomsbury Review once called him a “literary wizard.” Critic Paul Christensen wrote of Milligan as “one of the principal writers of the region and a force at the center of the literary art movements of Texas.” Milligan was the book columnist for the San Antonio Express-News and the San Antonio Light throughout the 1980s and early ’90s. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, PEN American Center, and the Texas Institute of Letters, his reviews and essays appeared in many journals and newspapers, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, et al. The founding editor of Pax: A Journal for Peace through Culture (1983-1987) and (with Roberto Bonazzi) Vortex: A Critical Review (1986-1990), he directed the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s literature program and its San Antonio Inter-American Book Fair and Latina Letters conferences for several years. Milligan has been the publisher, editor and book designer of Wings Press since 1995. Wings Press has been profiled in numerous publications, including Poets & Writers Magazine and the Huffington Post. Milligan was the primary editor of Daughters of the Fifth Sun: A Collection of Latina Fiction and Poetry (Riverhead, 1995)—which was the first all-Latina anthology to be published by a major American publishing house—and Floricanto Si: A Collection of Latina Poetry (Penguin, 1998). He has edited several smaller anthologies and critical collections, and designed numerous books for other presses. Milligan is the author of four historical novels and short story collections for young adults. With the Wind, Kevin Dolan (1987) received the Texas Library Association’s Lone Star Book Award. One of his children’s books, Brigid’s Cloak, was a 2002 “Best of the Year” pick by both the Bank Street College and Publishers Weekly. Some of his gallery theater pieces have been produced weekly at the Witte Museum in San Antonio for over 25 years. Milligan is also the author of six previous collections of poetry. His poetry and his song lyrics have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Southwest Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Cutthroat, Clover, and Texas Observer, among others. Once upon a time, he was a working luthier and a singer/songwriter (twice a semi-finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folks songwriting competition). He has taught English and creative writing at every level, including workshops from California to Prague. Milligan is a recipient of the Gemini Ink “Award for Literary Excellence” and the St. Mary’s University President’s Peace Commission’s “Art of Peace Award” for “creating work that enhances human understanding through the arts.”